Affirmative Action – do we still need it? Affirmative action is a set of public policies and initiatives designed to help eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The original policies of Affirmative action were set up to help African Americans and other minority groups to overcome the past effects of discrimination. African Americans, minorities, and women discrimination in certain areas like employment, resources, and other public programs. Affirmative action policies was set up by the overnment and implemented federal agencies enforcing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under this act and two executive orders government contractors and educational institutions receiving federal funding had to develop program in conjunction around affirmative action laws. In 1972 The Equal Opportunities Act of 1972 set up a commission to enforce the plans of the Civil Rights Act and Affirmative action policies. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed executive order of 11246 and The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. Affirmative action has been around since 1961 up until 009 some called the reverse discrimination against white men. Affirmative action has a 48 year history within the United Sates. This is the next step and more profound stage of the battle for civil rights (< http:// www. factmonster. com/spot/affirmative1. htm>, emphasis added). Affirmative action had several major arguments that made this policy become effective and implemented by law. The arguments included the following areas: employment, educational institutions, and other forms of discriminatory practices that held back minorities from government funding and services. Supporters of the affirmative ction policy knew that this would level the playing field and offer many opportunities that was once denied to African Americans and other minority groups. In the work place setting the affirmative action was not meant to compensate for past wrong doings but offset the unfair advantage, appropriately reward the deserving, or provide social goods. This was enacted so that business and institutions could comply with the nondiscrimination mandate set forth by the Civil Rights Act. What is required by Congress is the removal of artificial, arbitrary, and unnecessary barriers to employment where arriers operated invidiously to exclude on the basis of racial and other impermissible classification (Bell, 2003). Education was another big major area where affirmative action was focused at. Universities and colleges were puzzled during the 1970’s on ways to increase minority presence on campuses nationwide. This increase included added minorities in the student body as well as complying with federal regulations on employment practices to increase minority on the staff as well. Many institutions for higher learning increased its enrollment of women, African Americans, and Hispanic population on the campus because hey recipients of federal funding which was incompliance with the affirmative action rules. Arguments against the issue would be a case that went all the to the Supreme Courts in 1977. This case was known as the Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke. Under the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, the University of California at Davis was in violation of the law. Where Alan Bakke was denied admission in the medical school Even though his grades were better than those applicants admitted under the special program there. The Supreme Court ruled that school was in clear violation of the law, so
Bakke was admitted in the medical school. Some critics of affirmative action would argue that, but some critics would argue and say that this is a clear example of reverse discrimination against white men. It was this: when the decision of state agents “touch an individual’s race or ethnic background, he is entitled to a judicial determination that the burden he is asked to bear is that on the basis is precisely tailored to serve a compelling government interest (qtd. in Boylan 117- 130). Affirmative action has help a lot of minorities individuals from many diverse back grounds.
Without affirmative action taking shape during the Civil Rights movement during this time frame when America was in a dark period and people from minority groups was fighting for equal justices and liberties from all across the country we may have ended up moving backwards instead of pushing forward. Since then many thing’s have changed and taken place since that 40 year span of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 signing. More minorities have access to services and programs, they have equal liberties, individuals are able to vote and in a democratic society that is changing daily as American xpand its horizons. Affirmative action is still needed because it allowed minorities to have an equal playing field in many areas that was not once open to them. Today in education sectors minorities have been given opportunities to have equal access to programs across the country to top tier schools for medicine, nursing , law, and business. This has given women, African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, and other groups that fall into this category equal opportunity as their counterparts. All members of humankind are equally ends in themselves, all have equal dignity and therefore all re entitled to equal respect from the community and it’s laws (Cohen and Sterbra,2003). Works Cited Bell, Derrick. “Diversity Distractions”. Columbia Law Review. (2003). 1622-1633. Boylan, Michael. “Affirmative Action Strategies for the Future“. Journal of Social Philosophy. 33(2002). 117- 130. Brumer, Borgna. Affirmative Action history. A History and timeline of Affirmative Action. July 2009. Pearson Education, Inc. < http://www. factmonster. com/sport/affiramtive1. htm>. Cohen, Carl and Sterbra, James. (2003). Affirmative Action and Radical.